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This is part of an ongoing guest post series on Disney World Savings, written by a life long Disney lover.
We covered the biggest question of when to go last time, but know you have to look at where to stay. This can be simultaneously overwhelming and super exciting. There are lots of options and decisions to make, so let’s walk through this. Quickly though, I am personally a stay on resort kinda person. There are lots added benefits, with the biggest being avoiding some of the crazy traffic as parks close and open!
Lodging and Resorts
I know one of the first instincts to save money is to stay off property… but… Disney World’s resorts really are fantastic and there are added perks such as Extra Magic Hours that add a TON of value. I’ll get into more of the perks later as I really just want to present some info on the resorts themselves. All resorts have free transportation to and from the parks as well as the water parks and Downtown Disney.
You can actually book your Disney Resort through Orbtiz and other vacation sites at a cheaper cost than through Disney. However, there is one downside. Booking through a third party means that you cannot get the Disney Dining plan. We’ll get into the Dining Plan later, so you can decide then if this is enough of a drawback to warrant not booking through a third party.
Disney Resorts have three pricing levels: Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Let me assure you that all Disney resorts are comfortable and very pleasant. However, logic dictates that the more expensive the resort, the nicer it is (and some are REALLY expensive and REALLY nice).
The All Star complex is a great place to stay when you are on a tight budget. The themes (music, movies, and sports) are fun and whimsical for children and the rooms are basic hotel rooms comfortable enough for adults. The All Star complex offers pools, dining, an arcade, and transportation at each one of the three resorts in the complex. With children, the arcade and pools are very nice when you come back from the parks to rest. If you don’t plan on spending much time at the resort, this is a great choice for you.
My all-time favorite resort is the Yacht Club. The decorations are beautiful and it has many advantages. First, the location is among the best. The Yacht Club, Board Walk, Swan, and Dolphin are all located in between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. All four of these resorts have walking paths to both of these parks. They also have ferries and buses for transportation. This is a huge benefit because walking will allow you bypass the transportation system and reach the parks faster. The walk is also scenic. Second, the Yacht Club pool is awesome! They have several pools in the same area and one features a pirate ship water slide that your kids are sure to love. Yacht Club also includes a very nice sit-down restaurant that accepts the Disney dining plan.
Disney has built a new Value Resort that opened a couple years ago! It’s called Disney’s Art of Animation and the decorations look incredible. The resort includes family suites, so those rooms are more expensive than other value resorts because it is not a regular room. It features some of the newer movies, so it’s a nice update for the younger crowd. Here are more details on Disney’s Art of Animation.
All the Disney Resorts I’ve stayed in have been very pleasant. Do some research on a few of the resorts that sound interesting to you and are within your budget. All the resorts offer slightly different experiences and you’ll be able to find one that suits you and your children.
One attribute that you may want to consider is distance to the parks. Disney does offer their own transportation system to and from the parks, but some families like to spend as little time on the buses, monorails, and ferries as possible. For us, it is sometimes a nice break and we ultimately only spend the morning traveling to the park and the night traveling back to the resort.
I suggest you call (notice a trend?) the resorts directly too in order to find better deals. Some resorts give teacher discounts, military discounts, among others that can be added if and when you call. It also doesn’t hurt to try and negotiate. Here’s the number: (407) 939-1289.
If you plan on flying, Disney has complimentary transportation to and from the airport for most Disney Resorts. They will take you directly to your hotel. You don’t even have to go through baggage claim if your plane arrives between 5 am and 10 pm!
What experiences have you had with Disney World resorts?